The Rusty Taste of Shame

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The new issue of Ms. magazine is “Blowing the Whistle on Campus Rape”–the title of the cover story by Occidental College professors Caroline Heldman and Danielle Dirks. Here, a professor at the University of Oregon joins the chorus of activists breaking the silence on sexual assaults—which 1 in 5 women students will experience in their […]

California Takes on Campus Rape — And So Does Ms.

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If a bill proposed in the California legislature passes and is signed into law, it won’t be enough for a campus sexual assault perpetrator to defend himself by claiming, “She didn’t say no!” Rather, he’ll have to prove that she said “Yes!” Co-authored by state Sen. Kevin de León, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) […]

Childhood Sex Abuse: Ending the Silence

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TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ABUSE What if every survivor of sexual abuse picked up the phone, called their abusers and confronted them like this woman did? (Or wrote an “open letter” in The New York Times like this woman did?) That would be a lot of calls. One in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys have […]

Thank You, White House, for Taking on Violence Against Women

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President Obama’s administration has been plagued from the outset by Republicans’ persistent effort to chip away at women’s human rights. Two recent examples: In 2012, Republicans stalled the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act for the first time since it was signed in 1994. In 2013, 70 measures to restrict access to abortion were […]

Supreme Court Will Decide on Re-Arming Domestic Abusers

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For a domestic violence victim, whether her partner owns a gun can be the difference between life and death. One in four women in the United States experiences domestic violence in her lifetime, and these women are five times more likely [PDF] to be murdered when their intimate partners own a firearm. Putting a gun in […]

Tell D.C. Police to Take Rape Seriously!

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[TRIGGER WARNING: STORY ON SEXUAL ASSAULT LEGISLATION] Marissa was raped in Washington, D.C., two years ago. The detective sent to investigate told her that bringing charges against the perpetrator would ruin the rapist’s life. He told her that her “words said no, but what about the other signals she was sending?” He said she did […]

U.N. Day Recognizes Violence Against Women

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I think it’s better to be a man because a woman always hears inappropriate comments from men. It happened to me at school. Teachers won’t give out your grades if you don’t sleep with them. When my friends apply for a job, if the employers are men, when they don’t give in to their advances […]

Steubenville Redux: Victim Blaming in a Florida Football Town

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“She’s just ruining Jameis’ good character.” That’s what I overhear a young mother, decked out in a garnet top and dream-catcher earrings, telling her teenage daughter at a Mexican restaurant here in Tallahassee. Her daughter, also clad in Florida State colors, nods in eager agreement. I cringe, glad that my toddler is too young to […]

Alcohol is a WEAPON of Rapists, Not Evidence for Victim Blaming

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Trigger Alert: Discussion of rape and victim blaming … On October 15, Slate writer Emily Yoffe wrote a piece entitled, “The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women to Stop Getting Drunk.” A crowd of critics harpooned Yoffe for her victim-blaming approach (Jezebel, Feministing, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Salon and even Slate’s own Amanda Hess). On October 18, Yoffe responded to the backlash by digging in […]

When Street Harassment Is More Deadly Than Catcalls

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Recently in Florida, a 14-year-old girl was walking down the street when a man in an SUV pulled up beside her and offered her $200 to have sex with him. When the girl refused, he pulled her by her hair into his vehicle and choked her until she lost consciousness. Then he dropped her on […]